First human case of West Nile confirmed

Mesa County’s first case of West Nile Virus in a human this year has been confirmed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment laboratory.

The local woman diagnosed recently with West Nile is the first person to test positive for the virus in Mesa County since 2010, when 12 people were diagnosed with the virus.

The county hit a peak of West Nile diagnoses in 2004, when 127 residents tested positive for the virus, according to the Mesa County Health Department.

The woman diagnosed with the virus this summer in Mesa County was not hospitalized, according to Health Department spokeswoman Karen Martsolf.

No human cases had been reported in any Colorado county as of the end of July.

But non-human West Nile cases had been reported in Adams, Boulder, Delta, Fremont, Larimer and Weld counties this year as of July 31, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A horse treated last week in Olathe had the first confirmed case of West Nile in a horse on the Western Slope this year.

No mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile so far this year in Mesa County.

It is common for West Nile cases to appear in humans before mosquitoes test positive for the virus, Mesa County Health Department Director Jeff Kuhr said in a news release Thursday.

Martsolf said early- to mid-August is peak West Nile transmission season.

“After the first freeze, it tends to taper off,” she said. “We’ll continue to do (mosquito) surveillance and testing throughout the summer and into early fall.”


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